- Elections will be held for 11 Rajya Sabha seats from UP on June 11.
- The BJP has fielded two candidates, which means 12 in the fray.
- BJP move to counter Congress attempt at getting Kapil Sibal elected.
It today fielded Priti Mahapatra, who runs an NGO and is the wife of a businessman called Harihar Mahapatra, as the 12th candidate in UP, where elections will be held for 11 Rajya Sabha seats on June 11.
Till this morning there were 11 candidates - seven of the Samajwadi Party, two of the Bahujan Samaj Party and one each from the BJP and Congress - which would have meant no contest.
Members of the legislative assembly of a state elect Rajya Sabha members. For UP's Rajya Sabha seats the electoral college is such that each candidate will need 34 votes to win a seat. The Congress has 28 lawmakers in UP and is counting on a Samajwadi Party promise that Mr Sibal will get the support of six of its lawmakers.
But now, with Ms Mahapatras entry, and if her nomination papers are found in order, there will be an interesting tussle.
The Samajwadi Party has 224 lawmakers in the UP assembly. That is sufficient to send six of the seven members it has fielded to the Rajya Sabha. For its seventh candidate, the SP plans to lean on the Peace Party's four and nine from Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal.
The BSP has enough lawmakers to get its two members elected and the BJP is assured of sending one. For Ms Mahapatra to be elected too, the BJP will need the support of 18 lawmakers from other parties.
Analysts say that the Congress can get help from the BSP, which has a few votes to spare after its two candidates are elected; Mayawati's party helped the Congress in Uttarakhand.
A contest brings focus on 10 odd lawmakers who are yet to spell out their stand - these include six Independents.
Voting for the Rajya Sabha in UP has always been followed by allegations that lawmakers have been bribed to vote in a particular way.